Russian/Soviet orchestras: naming system: Series of Artist?

The Russian/Soviet orchestras have serious problems around Artist name.

The problem has multiple elements:

  1. They change their proper Russian name repeatedly.
  2. The Russian names are often long and, I suspect, get abbreviated in Russian for common use.
  3. These names and the abbreviated ones are translated into English in a variety of ways. EG The same orchestra name may be translated in part: Large or Grand. Or that word might be missed from the translated name.
  4. Some of the orchestras are now centuries old.
  5. The current MB Search Result Suggestions can’t provide resolution and can easily mislead by showing an erroneous orchestra with the same name.
  6. MB disambiguations of orchestras would need at least a paragraph to be effective. They would include dates of name changes, associated conductors and venues, and the common translations over the years.

A way towards greater usability would for each orchestra to be treated as a Series of Artists.
Each official name in Russian would be an Artist.
Each official name change would trigger the creation of a new Artist in the Series.
Each Artist would have its date ranges and the Series name for that Orchestra in a disambig.

There would still be the possibility for confusion.
But clarity would be increased.

Other’s views, other ways forward, technicalnobstacles?

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But how will the search know which in the series of artists to display? A user would still search the name found on the release, still be presented with a range of very similar orchestras and be required to pick one.

One problem with having different artists is that recordings that are rereleased under different orchestra names would have to be duplicated, even if they are otherwise identical.

It would be better if the inline search showed more information related to the search keyword. Take the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, which at some point was named the Kirov Orchestra. If I search for Kirov Orchestra in the inline search, the result shows as Симфонический оркестр Мариинского театра (Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Kirov Orchestra) (its two other artist name aliases). Instead it could show something like “Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, between 1935 and 1992 named Kirov Orchestra” (it would show the English transliteration if the user is using the English-language version of MusicBrainz and the rest of the information is directly taken from the alias triggered by the users search keywords). This way you would avoid the clutter even if an orchestra (or whatever entity) has had dozens of names over the years.

So basically MBS-7483.


Orchestra of Theseus, could the one long-lasting orchestra be split up based on the conductor? That way you could have a better temporal resolution and it’d be easier to find the right one rather than one big blob that contains n+1 of everything, e.g. have aliases and everything that were used when $name was conducting.

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